Tuakau College’s Pasifika Group recently competed in the ‘Pasifika By Nature’ competition at the Claudelands Event Centre in Hamilton. The group of 24 students was proud to be part of the competition’s 20th celebration on 5 May, performing in front of about 8000 people.
Tuakau College’s teacher in charge, Michelle McMillan, said “the other schools had much bigger groups of 60 to 80 students compared to our 24!” Last year was the groups’ first year entering the competition and they won the ‘Most Promising Performance’ trophy and moved up a grade. This year the group has been practicing since February during lunchtimes, after school, weekends and even holidays.
Mary-Louise Booth, a student who joined the group this year, said “it’s so cool to be able to show that New Zealand is very multicultural and to be able to celebrate our cultures.” She said she was excited but also nervous during the 20 minute performance. Mosese Maea, another student, said “its all about being yourself and showing your colours. You learn your culture more by performing and you get a sense of pride in yourself and what you truly are.”
“It’s very special to me,” said Tooti Keewa, another student who only joined the group this year. “My home island is starting to sink so it’s cool to be able to perform and showcase my culture over here!” The group loves showcasing their culture and parents even make all the detailed costumes themselves.
Michelle said “there’s more and more Pasifika students now. It’s a good way for them to portray and showcase their culture and the cool thing is that it’s open to all cultures and not just Pasifika students specifically.” The group is now waiting to hear what their final placing is.